One of the greatest joys I have in doing ministry is engaging in prayer for others. Seriously, I love to pray with and for people, and the opportunities to do so continue to increase. Nearly every single day, there is someone who approaches me in some way requesting prayer, whether it be through email or text, social media, or the prayer section of my website. And I love it.
Because it’s an honor to go before the throne for another.
Because it shows our needs for our Savior.
Because it evidences our faith in the power of prayer.
I love prayer, and I can’t imagine I’ll ever stop. Prayer has been a significant aspect of my ministry through Neue Thing, it was the foundation of both Bible studies I wrote, and it is a discipline in my life that I’ve been able to watch develop into a desire and a delight.
So, what I’m about to share with you might shock you. To be honest, I hope that it doesn’t, because the truth is that we are all painfully human, and each one of us is just as much in need of God’s daily mercies and grace as the next. Still, I know the tendency. I’ve done it myself. Part of our broken humanness includes this propensity to put other humans up on pedestals. Especially those who lead us spiritually.
Our Bible study teachers.
I’m just as guilty. I’ve sat through sermons and been surprised to hear of things that my spiritual leaders struggle with…by why should I be? We are all human, and we are all prone to doubt, fear, deception, and sin. It’s what we do with those temptations that makes all the difference in the world.
Are any of you still wondering at the title of this post—“What I’ve been praying about lately?” Good, I’m glad you’re still with me. Well, here it is friends.
That’s right. Confident, fearless Cherie has been struggling with a bit of anxiety as of late. Go ahead and laugh, because I did as I typed those adjectives…confident and fearless. Although leaders might often come across as one or both of these things, if I were to just speak for myself, I’d have to say that there are many times that I feel neither confident nor fearless. There are days that I struggle with the unknown of tomorrow, and there are days when fear fills my thoughts more than faith.
That is why I will forever be grateful for God’s life-giving Word and for God’s life-giving people in my life. I was having one of those fearful and faithless moments today while walking through the aisles of my local Target, a strange place for this to occur because Target is usually a beautiful place of escape for me. Nevertheless, there I was, anxious and worried at Target. And my default in that moment? I texted my best friend and asked her to pray for me. I didn’t pray for myself. I didn’t call out to my Father first, as I should have. I called out to a friend. And this friend immediately redirected my gaze back to Jesus with these words:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV)
Yes, a passage I am quite familiar with. Yes, a passage that I have passed on to countless others in their own times of need. But, YES, a passage I needed right then and right now.
I was gently but boldly reminded by my sweet friend and by Christ Himself in that moment that I have to CHOOSE to trust God over listening to my fear. And I can. And so can you. Fear is a reality in life, and so is anxiety, but both are choices that we make and both can be overcome daily by choosing to trust in our God who is so trustworthy.
I don’t know if this strikes a chord with you today, but it sure did with me. I am praying for you today as you read these words that whatever is causing you anxiety today, that you would bring it to Jesus in prayer, knowing that as you leave it at His feet, the beautiful exchange that will occur is peace for you in place of your fear.